Thomas Carrier alias Morgan

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Thomas Carrier alias Morgan (Carrier)

Birthplace: Wales, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Colchester, New London County, Connecticut
Place of Burial: Marlborough, Hartford, CT, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Carrier
Husband of Martha Carrier (executed for witchcraft, 1692)
Father of Richard Carrier, Salem Witch Trials; Andrew Carrier, Salem Witch Trials; Jane Carrier; Thomas Carrier, Jr., Salem Witch Trials; Sarah Carrier Chapman, Salem Witch Trials and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Thomas Carrier alias Morgan

Thomas Carrier's tombstone, which was erected many years after his death, has an incorrect deathdate. He did not die in 1739, but rather, on 16 May 1735, age 109. According to Charlotte Helen Abbott's unpublished history of the Allen family of Andover, Thomas Carrier "alias Morgan" is said to have been one of the bodyguards of Charles I of England. She gives his birth year as 1626. According to Miss Abbott's account, on the day of the execution of the monarch, the regular executioner could not be found. Thomas was required to act as headsman in his place, and was the man who beheaded the King. Miss Abbott says: "The tale probably followed him and he seems to have been unwelcome here [Andover], the settlers believing that he brought bad fortune." He and his wife, Martha, were later blamed for the epidemic of smallpox that broke out in Andover in 1690, causing many deaths including several members of Martha's own family (her parents, her two brothers, and a brother-in-law).

Thomas Carrier was ordered out of Billerica in 1674 and gave security for his ability to pay a fine of 20 shillings a week and to be self-supporting. However, there is no record that he ever paid it. Records show that in 1677 he had a job of cutting brush in Andover with his man, John Leviston, and 20 others. He took the Oath of Allegiance in Andover in 1678.

Thomas Carrier was taxed in Andover from 1684 to 1690. However, the 1692 map of Andover shows that the homestead of "T. Currier" was located in what was then Billerica. The site is now in Tewksbury, MA -- close to the corner of Dascomb Road and Shawsheen Road. Following his wife's execution for witchcraft in 1692, he left Andover and moved to Colchester, Connecticut. Miss Abbott states: "He was born in 1626 ... and died in Colchester, 1735, age 109. He was very active in his old age, was erect and never gray. He walked from Colchester to Glastenburg when very old, carrying a sack of corn the entire distance."


He and his sons were the first settlers of Colchester, CT, according to his tombstone.

Some very interesting facts about Thomas are found on pages 386-387 of the book "History of New London county, Connecticut: With Biographical sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men." (1882) --

"Thomas Carrier had belonged to the bodyguard of King Charles I, of Great Britain, and was notorious for fleetness of foot, even after he was more than one hundred years old. It is said that he killed the king of England. If so, he must have been the executioner of King Charles I in 1648. He was a Welshman. It is said by his descendants that he was one hundred and thirteen years of age at the time of his decease in 1735."

Interestingly, his tombstone says 109 years old but gives the death date of 1739. If he really died in '39 & was 113 years old as the family claims, then this would fit his 1626 birthdate that's on the official records from back then. This suggests the "109" chiseled onto the stone was a mistake, which is probably why the family claimed 113 publicly. After all, if 109 years & 1735 were correct, then he'd have been born in 1630, which would make him just 18/19 years old when King Charles I was beheaded. It's highly doubtful that such a young & inexperienced man would be chosen for such a task as executing a king. Therefore, it's reasonable to figure he was born in 1626, which means he'd be 113 when he died in 1739.

'His tombstone says he died 5/16/1739; with birth date of 1630; which equals the 109 years of age as stated.'As to his age if he were assigned the deed of beheading the King, if the designated executioner refused, it is likely a drawing would be held and the winner/loser, whatever age, be given the deed to do.

As for the beheading, it should be noted that there are other claims to being the beheader. So we may never know 100%, but it is possible Thomas did it. There are no facts out there that prove it impossible. The key detail to why there's controversy over who did it, rests on the fact that the official executioner refused to do it. So, someone else had to.

(My 9th Great-Grandparents) Thomas Carrier married Martha Allen on 7 May 1674 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts

They had 6 children:

Richard Carrier

   Born 17 July 1674 in Andover,Essex,Massachusetts 
   Married Elizabeth Sessions 16 or 18 July 1694 Andover,Mass 
   Married 2nd Thankful Brown 29 July 1707 
   Died 16 or 17 Nov 1749 Colchester,New London,Connecticut 
   Buried Old Burying Ground Colchester,CT 
   (Elizabeth born Andover 24 Apr 1672 died 6 March 1704 Colchester) 
   (Thankful born 1680 Hatfield died 20 May 1759 Colchester)

Andrew Carrier

   Born 7 May 1677 Andover,Mass 
   Married Mary Addams 11 Jan 1704/5 Colchester 
   Died 23 July 1749 Colchester,CT 
   (Mary born 1678 Simsbury died 13 Sep 1748)

June Carrier

   Born 23 July 1680 Billerica,Middlesex,Massachusetts 
   Died 26 August 1680

Thomas Carrier Jr.

   Born 18 June 1682 Andover 
   Married 1705 Susannah Johnson in Andover 
   Died 17 Mar 1739 Colchester 
   (Susannah born 1683 Andover died 1739 Colchester)

Sarah Carrier

   Born 17 Nov 1684 Billerica,Middlesex,Mass. 
   Married 1707 John Chapman in Andover 
   Died 7 Dec 1772 
   (John born 1685 Colchester, died 1745 Colchester)

Hannah Carrier

   Born 12 July 1689 Billerica,Middlesex,Mass. 
   Married 1748 Joseph Wood in Norwich 
   Died Andover 
   (Joseph born 1696 Bradford, died 1766 Windham)

Thomas Carrier

As interesting as Martha's story is, that of her husband, Thomas, is equally interesting. He was born as Thomas Morgan in Wales around 1626. Thomas belonged to the bodyguard of King Charles I, of England. It is not absolutely certain, but it was said that he killed the King when he was beheaded in 1648, whether he was the actual man to do the chopping, he definitely had something to do with the whole affair. Charles I, son of James I, was always in disagreement with Parliament, and actually dissolved them in 1629. Civil war resulted in 1642. In 1646, Charles surrendered to the Scottish army and was tried before the English Parliament in 1647. When Charles II gained power in 1660, he pardoned everyone except for the regicides and judges of Thomas I. So off to America under assumed names for all those involved with the murder of King Thomas I. No details are available as to why the name Carrier was chosen. Thomas died in Colchester, Connecticut on May 18, 1735, which would make him 109 years old, even though many family members claimed his age was 113. The town records indicate that he was 7'4", and was well known for his quickness of foot. He would often walk to a mill 18 miles with a sack of corn to be ground on his shoulder, stopping only once during the trip to shift the bag. The New England Journal on June 9,1735 stated: "His head in his last years was not bald or his hair gray. Not many days before his death he traveled on foot six miles to see a sick friend, and the day before he died he was visiting his neighbors. His mind was alert until he died, when he fell asleep in his chair and never wok

Lowell (MA) Sun Newspaper - Tuesday March 16, 1999:

Billerica family's 323-year exile ends by Pierre Comtois, Sun Correspondent

BILLERICA - The Carrier family won redemption last night-although it came 323 years too late. The Board of Selectmen, seeking to undo a wrong committed by their predecessors during colonial times, voted last night to rescind the banishment of the entire Carrier family. In 1676, Thomas and Martha Carrier and family were told by selectmen to leave town forthwith or pay a surety of 20 shillings per week if they wanted to stay.

Selectman Edward Hurd, who's wife is a descendant from the family, said town records aren't clear but he believes that "a member of the family had the smallpox virus" and town officials didn't want them to be a burden on their neighbors. This immediate family moved to Andover, only to see Martha accused of witchcraft in the 1690's and sentenced to hang atop Gallows Hill in Salem.

Members of the family later moved to Colchester, CT, Hurd said, though some stayed behind in Billerica. In the early 1700's, said Hurd, the Massachusetts government apologized to Thomas Carrier for the hanging of his wife and paid him a settlement.

Last night was the town's turn to make good. Hurd asked his colleagues to rescind the banishment as an "appropriate gesture" to the Carrier family. It was unanimously approved.

When Thomas Carrier arrived in New England, he already had an unusual and historic past. According to Carrier family tradition, Thomas' exceptional physical ability led him to be chosen as one of the King of England's Royal Guard. Then in 1649, when King Charles I was put on trial and sentenced death, it was Thomas who acted in the historic position as executioner of the King. Unfortunately for Carrier, Charles I's son, Charles II, would re-take the throne and gain control of the country. In May 1660, Charles II ordered the arrest of those responsible for his father's death. If Carrier was involved, the arrest orders could have been what motivated him to make the journey across the Atlantic. The Puritans of Massachusetts certainly did not approve of the repression of Charles I, but they also did not approve of regicide (the killing of a king). The facts of Carrier's actions may have found their way across the Atlantic.

Thomas Carrier's arrival in New England came about 1665, shortly after the arrest orders were sent out. His first stop was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but he would soon move on to the village of Billerica, Massachusetts. It seems that Carrier lived an unsettled life at first, moving three or four times between Billerica and Andover, Massachusetts. While in Andover in 1672, Thomas Carrier met Martha Ingalls Allen, the daughter of Andrew and Faith (Ingalls) Allen, who was 20 years younger than himself. The couple was married in 1674 and after the birth of their second son they moved back to Billerica.

The couple settled in Billerica and their family grew. After what must have been a joyful time for the Carriers, now with three sons and two daughters, the tough times began in 1690. The next two Carrier children died from the common 17th century disease of smallpox. Although Boston had already been hit with several smallpox epidemics, the smaller villages had been spared. When Martha's father also died later that year, the Carriers moved back to Andover to live with Martha's mother.

They are noted in public records as receiving the standard, but ominous, warning from the Andover Selectmen to "move on." Unfortunately for the Carriers, they brought the smallpox virus with them to Andover and it quickly spread to Martha's family. Within two months of the arrival of the Carriers, nine people had died from the illness. The victims included Martha's two brothers, her sister-in-law and a nephew, all living in Martha's mother's house when the Carriers arrived. Suspicion about Martha began to surface. The fact that her husband and children had been stricken with smallpox, but none of them died, would have been interpreted as proof that Martha possessed special powers.

To make her situation worse, after the death of her two brothers Martha took charge of her father's estate. In colonial New England, the ownership of land by women was seriously frowned upon and considered improper behavior. She immediately ran into friction with her neighbors, threatening vengeance upon those she believed were cheating her or her husband. Martha was described as "a woman of a disposition not unlikely to make enemies; plain and outspoken in her speech, of remarkable strength of mind, a keen sense of justice, and a sharp tongue." Not far from Andover in Salem Village, the witchcraft hysteria was beginning to pick up momentum.

The troubles in Salem started when some impressionable young girls began listening to stories told by the minister's servant Tituba, a slave from Barbados, West Indies. Soon the minister's daughter, Elizabeth Parris, became ill and refused to eat. Other Salem girls began throwing fits, having strange dreams and making animal-like noises. Some of them developed spots that looked like pin pricks and teeth marks.

They were examined by Dr. William Griggs, who could not find any reason for the state of the girls and proclaimed, "The evil hand is upon them." When the girls were asked who was bewitching them, they named Tituba, an obvious pagan, and a couple old beggar women. As the women were dragged off to jail and put on trial, the girls' popularity rose and they became regarded as visionaries. The witch-hunt had begun.

Shortly thereafter in Andover, Joseph Ballard's wife came down with an illness that the normal herb remedies failed to cure. He suspected witchcraft and rode to Salem to enlist the help of the now prestigious Salem girls. The girls arrived in Andover with great ceremony and announced that Ballard's wife was indeed bewitched, naming Martha Carrier and others as witches. A warrant was signed for Martha's arrest on May 28, 1692, the first person in Andover to be charged with witchcraft. She was taken to jail and placed in chains to keep her spirit from roaming. Three days later, Martha underwent the "examination" that preceded witchcraft trials. During the examination, most accused witches made confessions to avoid the extreme penalty of death. Not Martha, she maintained her innocence in the face of the scrutiny.

She was then transported to the Salem Village Meeting House to face the notorious Salem girls. When Martha entered the Meeting House the girls fell to the floor writhing with cries of agony. After the elders read the indictment, naming Mary Wolcott of Salem as the victim, Martha responded with a plea of "not guilty." From the floor of the Meeting House the Salem girls responded, "I would see the souls of the 13 persons whom she murdered at Andover."

Martha was also confronted by five women and children from Salem who claimed to be suffering from her. Susannah Shelden claimed that her hands were tied together with a wheel band by Martha's specter. The magistrates asked, "Susannah, who hurts you?" Her response was clear, "Goody Carrier. She bites me, pinches me and tells me she would cut my throat if I did not sign her devil's book."

Witnesses in the court said they saw a "black man" whispering in Martha's ear as she stood at the bar in front of the magistrates. When they questioned her, "What black man did you see?" Martha replied sharply, "I saw no black man but your own presence." Pushed on by the confrontation Martha proclaimed, "You lie; I am wronged.... It is false and it is a shame for you to mind what these say, that are out of their wits!" Her defiance and confrontational attitude only helped confirm the magistrates' opinion of her guilt. The accusers persisted and Martha was formally indicted.

She was bound in chains and taken to jail to await further trial while more evidence could be found. Martha's two oldest sons, Andrew and Richard, and her seven and a half year old daughter, Sarah, were also put in jail as suspected witches. During their stay, the children confessed that they were witches and it was their mother that made them witches. Martha's two teenage sons had been hung by heir heels "until the blood was ready to come out of their noses," before they confessed to being involved with witchcraft. The magistrates didn't use the sons' confessions, but they did bring Martha's young daughter, Sarah, to testify against her mother. Sarah's confession came six days after Martha was already convicted and sentenced to death. Under the persuasive magistrates the children related time, place and occasion of their "evil" behavior. They told the examiners about journeys, meetings and "mischiefs by them performed, and were very credible in what they said." However, the sons' testimony was never heard in court, the magistrates feeling there was enough other evidence.

On August 2, 1692 a special court of Oyer and Terminer was held in Salem to deal with six accused witches, including Martha Carrier. When the witnesses were brought before the court the evidence against Martha was overwhelming. All of the past arguments Martha ever had were brought up and there were many fact which "looked greatly against her." Martha again pleaded not guilty, but the proceedings continued, "there was first brought in a considerable number of the bewitched persons, who not only made the court sensible of an horrid witchcraft committed upon them, but also deposed that it was Martha Carrier, or her shape, that grievously tormented them by biting, pricking, pinching and choking them. It was further disposed that while this Carrier was on her examination before the magistrates, the poor people were so tormented that everyone expected their death on the very spot, but that upon the binding of Carrier they were ceased.

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Thomas Carrier alias Morgan's Timeline

Wales, United Kingdom
July 19, 1674
Age 48
Andover, Essex, Massachusetts
May 7, 1677
Age 51
Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
July 23, 1680
Age 54
July 18, 1682
Age 56
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
November 17, 1684
Age 58
Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
July 12, 1689
Age 63
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
May 16, 1735
Age 109
Colchester, New London County, Connecticut